Monday, March 24, 2008

No. 421: The "Chirping" Crickets


Band: Buddy Holly and the Crickets
Album: The "Chirping" Crickets
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: One of early rock and roll's first stars, Buddy Holly's slight Texas twang and easy combination of rockabilly, pop and R&B made for some classic early records.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: Early rock and roll nearly always sounds primitive. The records were made in such a way that any production involved dubbing tons of vocals. I still don't understand that.
Best song: "Not Fade Away" is great.
Worst song: "An Empty Cup (And a Broken Date)" isn't all that good.
Is it awesome?: How about "wildly dated?"

This album game out 51 years ago, so to call it dated is probably an overly obvious assertion, but I still can't really get over how slightly produced early rock and roll -- pre-Phil Spector, I guess -- sounds to modern ears.

There are so many doo-wop style harmonies and such a thin guitar sound, it's hard for me to love the songs with more emotion. "Last Night," for example, is a doo-wop vocal number and would probably sound better with a more robust arrangement, but it sounds like the type of thing I'd hear in a Looney Tunes cartoon.

Certainly, Holly's use of the Bo Diddley beat in "Not Fade Away" is great and the song is one of early rock and roll's great hits. "Oh Boy!" is similarly rocking. "That'll Be The Day" is sorta prescient, but it's mostly overrated.

And so goes Holly's catalog. Some great songs, but a whole lot of backing vocals passing as production.

2 comments:

SoulBoogieAlex said...

The importance of Buddy Holly is hard to over rate. He was one of R&R's first song writers/producers, unheard of before his time. As such he paved the way for artists like Lennon & McCartney or Bob Dylan. He was also one of Rock and Roll's first minimalistic producers, basically inventing lo-fi producing while still exploring studio technique such as double tracking. It might sound a little dated now, but Buddy Holly was wildly ahead of his time in the fifties.

Hawkster said...

Geez, you really are one clueless buffoon.

If it wasn't for all the various genres of "dated" music you disdain, yer personally beloved artistic "geniuses" would have had fine careers at the local car wash.

Freakin' grow up.

--Hawkster